Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been used to ban the federal government from spending money on abortion. Now the Stupak and Nelson amendments are trying to expand Hyde into the private insurance marketplace for the first time ever.
Because of Hyde, women who rely on Medicaid cannot get an abortion in most circumstances — even if her health is jeopardized by her pregnancy — unless she is able to cover the entire cost out-of-pocket. Similar restrictions have been imposed on women who rely on the health benefits provided to federal employees, military personnel and their dependents, women served by the Indian Health Service, Peace Corps volunteers, Medicare enrollees and women in federal prisons.
The members of Congress who want to strip abortion coverage from healthcare always cite the Hyde Amendment in arguing that current law on abortion is fair. The impact of Hyde will actually be hugely expanded when the healthcare bill adds millions more women and families to Medicaid. This sorry status quo isn’t fair at all.